How to build Mental Toughness like an Olympic Medalist for your Small Business

Have you ever wondered why some people can thrive after life’s dramatic challenges and others mentally collapse?

According to Jim Loehr, a performance psychologist and Paul G. Stoltz, Chairman of the Global Resilience Institute, working in peak performance and maintaining resiliency needs to be practiced.

For example the average professional athlete spends most of his or her time practicing and only a small percentage actually competing. However the typical executive devotes almost no time to training and must perform on demand 8 to 16 or more hours a day.

The good news is, you can increase your mental resiliency and grit now by practicing the following exercises…

1. Practice Supercompensation

When athletes weight lift, they stress a muscle to the point where their fibers literally start to break down. They then give their body a rest period, and within 48 hours, not only do their muscles heal, they grow stronger.

Conversely, if a person doesn’t work out at all (think of a person in a cast) their muscles atrophy and become weaker.

Resiliency works in the same way. You need to have on and off time for your body where you super compensate then recover.

The ideal time for a person to concentrate is 90 to 180 minutes (supercompensating). After this you need to recover by either shifting gears mentally by working on a different project, taking a short break by going for a walk or practicing mindful breathing (free with an app called Headspace), eating something nourishing, or hydrating.

2. Focus on a deeper purpose

I’ve asked countless people how they can spend hours at work and not feel exhausted.

They always tell me the same thing: “I love what I do.”

Or as Carolyn Myss, New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness says: “When you are doing the right thing for you, you can feel tired, but you don’t feel drained or feel like you are betraying yourself.”

Conversely having a deeper purpose can also help you stop negative behaviours.

Consider the example of Ann, a high level executive from a large cosmetics company. For most of her adult life she couldn’t quit smoking permanently. However when Ann became pregnant she was able to quit immediately until her child was born and began smoking again. (Excerpt from the article The Making of a Corporate Athlete by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.)

Ann did something called making a “Values Based Adaption” As long as she was able to connect the impact of smoking to a deeper purpose, she was able to quit easily.

Being clear about WHY you do the work you do and creating a compelling mission statement that gets you out of bed in the morning will remind you when times are tough, why you stay in the game.

3. Focus on what you want rather than the problem

Some problems can seem like they have no end in sight. If you find you ruminate on problems rather than solutions, this following exercise will help.

Ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. “What do I want life to look like on the other side of this adversity?”
  2. “What can I do in the next few minutes, or hours, to move in that direction.”
  3. “What sequence of steps can we put together as a team, and what processes can we develop and adopt, to see us through to the other side of this hardship?” (Questions from the article How to Bounce Back from Adversity by Joshua D. Margolis and Paul G. Stolz)

Ruminating decreases resiliency. Efficient problem solving increases resiliency. The more you use this exercise during any problems, business or personal, the more you will train your brain to use this as it’s automatic way of processing.

Another way to increase resiliency is to use your natural skill set in your business and leave things that are difficult to experts. If you feel accounting is a drag, give us a call, and we can take it off your hands.

Schedule a free consultation today!

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